Namer's Remorse

Sep 25th 2008

I hear from a lot of parents in the grip of naming dilemmas.  Some of them are just starting their name searches, while others are feeling the pressure as they count down to their due dates.  And yet others -- a surprisingly large number -- are already home with an infant in their arms, but still uneasy about the names they've chosen.

"Namer's remorse" is a complication you really don't need at an already complicated time of life.  It piles on top of the sleeplessness, the endless to-do lists, and the general life upheaval that comes with expanding your family.  Sometimes, in fact, it's a product of those factors.  The high emotional pitch of the first days at home tends to amplify every parenting concern.

Name anxiety can also be a safe place to channel some of the difficult feelings of new parenthood.  It's a big leap from the imaginary baby in your mind to the real baby in your arms.  Sometimes it takes a while to really feel like the mysterious little creature you're holding is your child.  (That's ok, it'll come in time.)  Similarly, the name you chose in advance may not seem like a natural part of your child, or a good "fit."  If that's worrying you, rest assured that babies grow into their names in surprising ways.  By the time she's running around, that name is likely to fit her like a glove.

But for a small percentage of parents, namer's remorse has a more straightforward cause: they simply chose the wrong name.  Heck, it happens.  If both parents are set in unshakeable namer's remorse, dreaming of the name that should have been, what should they do?

I have the answer for you: they should change their baby's name.

That sounds obvious, but there's an unspoken taboo against it.  Most parents treat birth certificates as near-sacred objects, graven and immutable.  In part, that reflects the power names hold on our psyches.  We tend to see names as a core part of a person or thing, an identity not easily overwritten.  Yet when it comes to infants, names are anything but immutable.  Stop and think about it and you'll realize that you're constantly calling your baby Baby, Sweetie, Little Gumdrop, or even (insert your own random family nickname here).  So your baby should handle a gradual shift from Elizabeth to Annabelle easily enough.

Will you handle the change as smoothly? Well, there's the practical annoyance of arranging a legal name change, and maybe a monogrammed baby blanket to finesse.  When it comes right down to it, though, I think the biggest factor holding most parents back from changing infants' names is the same factor that holds us back from a thousand other unconventional behaviors.  It's good old fashioned embarrassment. 

Yep, you already sent out 100 birth announcements.  Yep, friends and relatives may laugh at your indecisiveness.  So what?  The embarrassment will last a couple of days, but a name lasts a lifetime.  If you're trying to whomp up your courage, you can take a lot of the sting out of the embarrassing situation by acknowedging it head-on, with some cheerful self-deprecation.  I recommend a new ritual: a formal birth re-announcement.  Below is my take on one.  Readers, can you offer alternative compositions?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Birth Announcement, Take 2

On August 12th we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy.  Before he was born, we had expected that his name would be Jayden.  Once we met him, we discovered we were mistaken.  Who knew?  He's actually:

Cooper Michael MacDowell
7 lbs, 4 oz.

Stephanie & Mike


By janet (not verified)
September 27, 2008 3:21 PM

Kristi - May I suggest Sorenna or Sorennah if you want to make sure it's not pronounced SorEEna(h). I think that extra "N" definitely softens the "E".

And I love the name Audrey -- timeless!

By Kristi (not verified)
September 27, 2008 4:09 PM

Anouk- Congratulations on Audrey. A lovely name and it definitely has the same feel as Claudia to me.

Zoerhenne- Sienna was on our long list but I was afraid it was becoming too trendy. Not in the top 100 yet, but definitely on the rise over the last couple years. Celeste is NMS. I think I have a negative association with it, just can't quite place it. I think Sylvia is a lovely name. It doesn't immediately hit me as being right, but is worthy of consideration.

Kai- I am American and just think of Hannah as Biblical. Have come across many little Hannah's in the church over the years.

janet- Thanks for that suggestion. I had considered that, but when I wrote it out it looked odd at the time. But now, seeing it typed, it doesn't look odd at all. Must have been my handwriting that day or something! :)

Re: in utero or "belly names"- our twins were called Albert and Bob, for Baby 'A' and Baby 'B'.

By Jane (not verified)
September 27, 2008 4:09 PM

I agree with Janet. If you really don't want people saying Sor-EE-nah, you pretty much have to put in a second N because with only one N after the E most people are going to revert to the most general rules of phonics which will tell them to say the long EE sound.

Regarding ultrasounds: according to my stepfather (an OBGYN), it's quite rare to see a boy on the ultrasound and deliver a girl. More mistakes are made in the opposite direction. So if your doctor says it's a boy, based on ultrasound, you can be pretty sure. (Not that mistakes don't happen!)

By Red Amber (not verified)
September 27, 2008 4:15 PM

My namer's remorse story:

I knew ever since before he was conceived that our first son would be named August Lee. Also before I conceived, I babysat a darling little 2-year-old named Isaac everyday Monday through Friday for a couple of months.

Fast forward a year; I bring home a darling little baby boy named August Lee, except that I'm calling him Isaac.

I was worried that I had picked the wrong name, but after a couple of months of correcting myself and figuring that I was just used to calling a little boy in the house "Isaac", everything got better. I started automatically calling him by his own name, and he grew into his name so well that he is no longer in any danger of being mistaken for someone else.


By Kristi (not verified)
September 27, 2008 4:47 PM

Re: name changes

My cousin was named after his birth father. His parents divorced and his birth father was no longer a part of his life. So, when his mother married my uncle, she and my cousin decided it was time to change his name (he was about 5 at the time). I knew him before the name change but can't remember now what his name was before (it was about 20 years ago). Now he is Cody.

By Luckymomma (not verified)
September 27, 2008 4:51 PM

ktc, I'm Erin and my DD is B3atrix C@r0l, so I'm a fan of your name choice! We thought she'd be a Trixie but for now she's Bea. (For the record, DS is Ron@n Edg@r -- Edg@r being Dh's grandmother's maiden ln.)

I love this blog and am kinda sad that we're not having more kids, simply b/c I love the name game so much!

Also, I'm one who doesn't reveal name choices before the birth simply for the surprise factor. With DD, our second, we didn't know gender and didn't reveal names on the list, so it was tons of fun to make those phone calls.


By adb (not verified)
September 27, 2008 6:59 PM

Keren said, "I think today's culture is often one of denial about stillbirth and neo-natal death. We are encouraged to believe that nothing can go wrong, and the way that many people know the sex of their baby and name it months before it is born can bolster this belief. It doesn't cause anything to go wrong (obviously) but it can add to the shock and sense of total disbelief when things do go wrong."

Absolutely. I know this to be true because things went wrong for us, too. We buried our daughter when she would have been one week old.

Lorelei, when your child passes away it's a permanent loss. You should not compare it to a child's stay in the NICU. The feelings are not the same, and I'm glad for you that you wouldn't know the difference. You probably meant well, but need to be made aware of the fact that those kinds of comparisons can be deeply offensive to those of us who have buried our children.

Nicole, Nina, and Kai, I agree with you about the sense of discomfort with public use of an unborn baby's name and with showers, though I never felt this way until after we lost her.

By Sarah (not verified)
September 27, 2008 7:04 PM

Keren, I am so sorry for your loss. Daniel is a terrific name.

Lorelei, I'm glad your little one has come through his difficult arrival into the world.

Of course all births should be celebrated and all babies, healthy or not, should be welcomed.

Everyone will certainly have different opinions on when the name becomes 'official' and I hope I am not being inappropriately personal in any of my comments. Naming a child is such a personal, private decision and I wouldn't want to impose my feelings on the choices someone else would make.

Hm - perhaps that's why I feel those heebie-jeebies when names are used about a baby before its birth. Naming a child is a private decision, and it shouldn't be taken out of the parents' hands, no matter how much everybody talks about it. And I guess I really think it shouldn't stop being a private decision until after the baby is born. Or perhaps, as was suggested above, once the privacy's been invaded by being operated on in utero. (Jiminy Cricket, that must have been tough.) Anne Enright wrote something about this private feeling and the name of her daughter in her book Making Babies. I'll have to go hoke it out and read it again.

By Sarah (not verified)
September 27, 2008 7:06 PM

adb - I am so sorry for your loss too.

By Tess (not verified)
September 27, 2008 7:11 PM

My aunt had 4 babies who were fullterm and who all died within several weeks after birth.She was under the care of a renowned doctor and it was many, many years ago. She never had a child who lived. Anyway, she named and baptized all four: Michael, Drusilla(Dru), Brian and Bruce(twins). Those names will always be remembered in my family and saying the names over the years was a comfort to her, I feel.

By Lorelei, er, Leigh (not verified)
September 27, 2008 8:20 PM

"Lorelei, when your child passes away it's a permanent loss. You should not compare it to a child's stay in the NICU."

Absolutely, and I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I didn't understand that. They're not the same. However, they are both in the realm of outcomes most expectant parents don't expect. To clarify, at the time we named our son, his prospects were daunting--we were preparing for every possibility, including the possibility of perinatal death. I'm grateful to say he survived, at least so far, with profound and multiple disabilities.

By Beth (not verified)
September 28, 2008 3:59 AM

Not to ignore the preceding comments, but I simply am speechless with regard to the subject. I did have something to say about the original topic of posting, however.

I think it's a bit odd to rename the baby a few days after birth or whatever, as when they're do you know what name does or does not fit them? They're small, red, loud, and mostly sleep, eat, and fill a diaper. There's not much in the way of personality in the beginning, and it seems silly to me to be worried that the name doesn't "fit" at that point. Certainly, assuming you've chosen a realistic, decent name that's spelled correctly and has a history of usage, they will grow to fit the name. (I was highly amused by the explanatory engagement announcement, however.)

I would be horrified to find out, as an adult, that my parents had chosen to rename me as a toddler because they found a name for my younger sibling (a boy, of course! the boy obviously deserves a better name/initial!) that clashed with mine and so chose to change mine. There's no reason two people with the same initial can't coexist in a home, especially when there are other children with different initials (don't get me started on the Duggar children's names), but it seems weird and frankly insulting to me to give a toddler/preschooler a different name because the name of the BABY didn't match or what have you.

I think the only reasons I'd consider changing a name after the baby was born, named, and filed, would be if the child was named after someone living, and said person themselves told me that they didn't like their name and were sad to see it used on my child, or if someone pointed out that the name was something frankly derogatory, or the initials spelled something hurtful, or something, and we'd somehow failed to notice that prior to committing the name to official document (seems unlikely, but it might change my mind).

By Megan W. (not verified)
September 28, 2008 8:33 AM

We didn't reveal names until the baby was born, but really for a far more practical reason: we didn't want any second guessers.

If you announce early in the pregnancy that you are naming the child Elvis Humperdink all sorts of folks have time to give you their thoughts (good or bad) on the name. Many more will hold their tongue after the baby is born.

Though, my favorite recent baby name/comment combo is this:

Baby: Brooklyn Annie LN

Grandma's first comment? "Sounds like a tugboat"

By MEH (not verified)
September 28, 2008 8:36 AM

Regarding names before birth-we have a dog named Peanut, so we are telling everyone that our baby's name is going to be Peanut the Second. It is incredibly fun to see the shock and horror on their faces when we say we're going to name our kid after our dog.

By Jessica (not verified)
September 28, 2008 11:20 AM

There is one incident in which I would change the name I had chosen for my baby. Please hear me out before you judge this one... If my baby was Down Syndrome or obviously retarded, I would choose another name. Not bc they are not worthy of the original name, but bc I had a very special friend who was Downs that I would love to name my child after. I may very well use that name anyway one day. Any of my friends who heard I was naming my baby Sally, would immediately associate her with Sally.

Yet, the longer I think about it, the more I realize that it would be hard to change. I choose to not find out gender before birth so it is not like "I know it's a girl and her name is Bertha .... OOPS she's special so now her name is Sally". Even though i don't find out gender, I still have this sense of "my baby is either Albert or Bertha" and then to suddenly have a Sally may be harder than I used to envision.

Did any of that make sense to anyone but me?

By CHW (not verified)
September 28, 2008 12:30 PM

I have never had namer's remorse with my 2 children. However, I can honestly say that I suffered from a real lack of confidence that my son's name was not well received by family and friends.
This board actually helped me in that respect. Someone posted that you should state your baby's name with confidence and offer no other explanation on why you choose the name. If pressed,offer simply that you justlove the name. So this is a much delayed thank you to that poster.
BTW, the name I was so unconfident about.... Elliott Andrew. Those dredful postpartum hormones!

By Nicole S. (not verified)
September 28, 2008 12:39 PM

Jessica, that made perfect sense to me. What a lovely tribute it would be to your friend Sally.

I only hope people who want to respond to your comment first ***re-read your comment a few times for perfect understanding,*** so that no one jumps to any silly conclusions about it, like they did with my original comment about the imprudence of public names for unborn babies & baby showers - assuming the very WORST about what I wrote. That was disappointing.

By Nicole S. (not verified)
September 28, 2008 1:18 PM

@Valerie - I second hyz's suggestion of Graham.

@The Letter K - Thank you for sharing such a delightful re-naming announcement! Loved it!!!

@Tirzah - Great story about big sister selecting the name Natalie. A family of 4 kids (all with commonly-used names in US) was expecting a baby brother and the kids kept insisting they name the baby "Nicholas," because the kids believed it to be a good "hockey player's name." The parents actually named him Nicholas - how could they not, really?

My former co-worker "unofficially" re-named one of their twins. They were named Tayl0r Mich3ll3 & Tyl3r Micha3l at birth. A few months later, when they mass-emailed some photos of the twins, they mentioned in the email that they were having trouble calling the twins by their correct names (!!), so from now on they would be calling the boy Michael. Oops!

By Zoerhenne (not verified)
September 28, 2008 1:26 PM

Correct me if I am wrong but it sounds like you are saying that "Sally is not my first choice but if my child ends up being Downs then that's the name I'll go with if it's a girl". I wonder why you do not wish to use this name on a healthy child? Or would you use it as a middle name in that case? It seems, although I'm sure I'm mistaken, that the name is not a worthy name for just anyone in your opinion but would only be special if it were used on a Downs child. I just wonder why you would not want to honor this "Sally" anyway?

OT-LL(aka)BDL, my sign on for captcha was Erwin Egleston. Kinda fits the theme or you could change it to Erin maybe!

By J&H's mom (not verified)
September 28, 2008 2:19 PM

Well, right after Henry was born, the doctor and nurses naturally asked if he had a name, and my husband and I looked at each other, and then one of us went, "Um...Henry?"
It may have been the drugs, but I'm pretty sure our nurse made a face.
Our immediate family was also less than thrilled, so while I wouldn't call it remorse, we did go through a couple hours of me saying, "We're sure, right?" and even a few times of me looking at him and saying, "Do you like Henry, or would you rather be Owen?"
Owen was our second choice, and we used it as his mn.

I'm guessing a fair amount of naming remorse happens when the parents get a less than enthusiastic response to their choice.

Now, of course, I can't imagine our son being anything but Henry/Hank/Boo, which is why I can sort of get changing the name relatively soon, but it's hard to imagine doing it days or weeks afterward. On the other hand, now that I think about it, well into her nineties, my late grandmother used to ask me if I thought she should have used Elaine for my mother.
I do agree Laura's announcement is definitely the way to go in such a predicament!

Anouk-Many congratulations on Audrey-one of my favorite names ever. I actually thought it would be good for Danielle's little one.
Maybe "we," could name two?

By Zoerhenne (not verified)
September 28, 2008 2:22 PM

Nicole S-I could never name twins such similar names for THAT very reason. OMG! Maybe Laura can do a post about sibsets or twins names being TOO matchy.
Calvin&Callista both nn Cal LOL!
Joseph&Johanna both nn Jo
I may have inadvertantly not done this, but I was trying to get names that weren't exactly the same names. So aside from derivitive names like Alexander and Alexandra being exactly the same name, can anyone think of any other sets?

By Zoerhenne (not verified)
September 28, 2008 2:37 PM

Thought of another re-announcement:

"The parents of Montgomery Alexander LN wish you to know of his NEW name-David Keith. You see we really want our child to succeed in life as I'm sure you do to. The numerologist we saw said that his OLD name did not have the right success number(too many O's). So we have decided to change his name in order to give him the best possible success in life. Please welcome him into your hearts with his new name of David Keith. We can now rest assured that his future will be filled with many riches and he may just pass on some of them to you-who knows!

By Miriam (not verified)
September 28, 2008 2:57 PM

Re name changes--

In Jewish tradition when someone is critically ill, his or her name is changed. The idea is that when the Angel of Death comes for, say, Chaim, he won't find Chaim, but only Ya'akov (Chaim under his new name). We can then picture the Angel standing on the front stoop, consulting his list, scratching his head, and muttering, "Heck, the Central Office screwed up again," then flying off to the next name on his list where hopefully he will once again be frustrated.

In the Bible of course key figures (Abraham, Sarah, and Jacob) had a change of name to reflect a critical turning point in their lives.

Re name remorse:

I am in the midst of reading a a colleague and friend's newly published memoir. She is an Egyptian Jew, born in Cairo and brought to the US when she was about 18 months old. According to Sephardic custom, she was named for her living forebears, in this case both her grandmothers. Her maternal grandmother was named Allegra, and her parents, already planning to come to the US, named her Joyce because they felt that the meanings of the two names were similar and that Joyce would "fit in" better in America. In her memoir Joyce says that she would have preferred simply to be Allegra, never mind Joyce.

By Nicole S. (not verified)
September 28, 2008 3:14 PM

@CHW - Elliott Andrew is a fabulous name!!!

@J&H's Mom - Henry Owen is also a fabulous name!!!
("It may have been the drugs, but I'm pretty sure our nurse made a face." Your nurse should lay off the drugs as they're not helping her taste in names - sorry couldn't resist that one!)

I'm sorry to hear you felt like people were less than enthusiastic about those wonderful names. It's a good reminder that we should all try to be a little more sensitive around new moms.

By Nicole S. (not verified)
September 28, 2008 3:21 PM

@Zoerhenne - I agree about disliking matchy-matchy names, particularly for twins. If we ever had twins, naming would be a challenge, as we would choose not find out the sex of the babies beforehand. I probably would not use the same first initials for the twins, nor any rhyming sounds.

By J&H's mom (not verified)
September 28, 2008 3:23 PM

I've given up on trying to catch up on all the comments, but I'm chucking in my two cents worth on a few things.

Elias (Eli)
Samuel/Samson (Sam)

Juliag-I second Deacon. Could I sell you on Declan or Shepard?

TM-Julia Rose is Beautiful.

Thank you all for such fun stories! I've especially enjoyed reading the takes on what different names "look," like.
I do think Julias are elegant brunettes, but I've always thought Samanthas were spunky redheads!
Thanks all for sharing and many congratulations again on all the new (and Beautifully named) little ones.

By Megan W. (not verified)
September 28, 2008 3:26 PM


I had a HS student several years ago named Frances. I was stunned to find out that she had a twin brother named Francis.

I asked her if that ever got confusing, and she just looked at me like I had two heads. So I changed the subject. But I'm still curious.

By anon (not verified)
September 28, 2008 3:31 PM


Jodi (September 25, 2008 4:16 PM) was joking about changing the older child's name in order to use a baby's name with the same first initial!

Name enthusiasts can be a bit fanatical, but not that bad...

By Kristi (not verified)
September 28, 2008 4:10 PM

I'm wondering if some of the NEs here have reliable sources to tell me the origin/meaning of the name Soren. I'm just curious. Right now my sources are limited to the internet, and as you can imagine, I am finding conflicting info.

Also, just wanted to share a few *interesting* baby names, born during the past month at the hospital where I will deliver.
Latch David
Laklyn Gayle
Riot Delilah (seriously? poor girl)

By Nicole S. (not verified)
September 28, 2008 5:42 PM

@Kristi, "Riot Delilah" - oh my!!! If ever there were grounds for a name change, this would be it. Can you please send Riot's parents The Letter K's poem & hope it proves inspirational?

Seriously, is Riot somehow a treasured family name? Or is it a foreign name that actually means something positive, pronouned "rhee-OAT"?? Trying to view this one as charitably as possible (and failing miserably...)

"Latch" could've been a Palin. "Laklyn" isn't quite as odd to me - but NMS as a kre8tive spelling of the great boy's name Lachlan, which I hope we start using for boys more frequently in the US.

By Jodi (not verified)
September 28, 2008 5:55 PM

anon: Thanks for coming to my rescue there :)

Beth: Yes, I guess the tone of my original post wasn't very clear. We adore our daughter's name and would never dream of changing it. I was making a joke/venting a little frustration about trying to find the perfect name for our current baby-on-the-way. It would be nice if we could give each child a unique initial, but in the end, I'm sure we will choose whichever name we love the most and feel will serve him/her best in life.

By The Letter K (not verified)
September 28, 2008 6:16 PM

In Finland the customs around naming are different. The actual birth certificate is of little legal value (if at all) and does not generally feature the baby's first name. The name must be given in the next 6-8 weeks, at which time the baby is then issued a social security card.

Parents are usually VERY secretive about their name choice and announce it at at the baptism/naming ceremony (the country could be described as mostly secular, but predominantly Lutheran, with the church being involved in key life events). Most commonly, only the priest and the godparents learn the name beforehand, and even then, at the last minute. This, for sure, has to reduce instances of naming remorse, as parents have time to get to know the new person a little more, and can do that at home and not in the hospital environment.

Though the tradition of secrecy is probably less in the convenience of the parents but rather in remains of older superstitions around names and their both identifying and protective powers.

I recall reading that in areas where distances to churches were long and the child could be 6 or 7 before strong enough to travel to be baptised, children went by "ugly" names (e.g. "Maggot") to confuse evil spirits until they could receive their real name (and the protection of the church). However, I can't find a reference for this, but I'll post it if I do.

By Zoerhenne (not verified)
September 28, 2008 6:54 PM

Miriam-That is an interesting idea regarding the jewish tradition of switching names.

I love the name Allegra btw, it seems like a very spunky, classy and graceful name. However, I also think it had been tainted by the drug of the same name.

By Kristi (not verified)
September 28, 2008 7:10 PM

Nicole S.- I tried different pronunciations for Riot as well, but couldn't come up with anything. From the picture, the girl looks Very caucasian and the parents first names are typical American or English names. Lachlan was a serious consideration on our long list of boy names, but dh was growing less fond of it, I think getting caught up in the meaning. Thus, seeing Laklyn for a girl seemed especially odd to me.

The Letter K- I like the sound of the Finnish customs. Wish we had that option here in the U.S.

By Jessica (not verified)
September 28, 2008 8:30 PM

Nicole: Thank you!

Zoerhenne: No. That is not right. I may very well use the name Sally on any given child. BUT if I were to have a Downs girl before I chose to use it no matter what, I would most likely change. Plus, My dad always called me Sally. SO no matter what child I chose to bestow it on, it is significant. (He never knew my Downs Sally - lest you think he thought I was hoarding an extra chromosome. heehee)

By Guest (not verified)
September 28, 2008 10:08 PM

Since there have been some comments about "matchy matchy" sibling names, I have a related question. I'm 14 weeks with my second child. We don't plan on knowing the sex or deciding on a name before the birth (not b/c I'm superstitious but b/c I like carrying around my "little mystery" for 9 months!) Anyhow, dd is named Lucia (pronounced "Lu-SEE-ah", nn Lulu). A name I really like for a boy is Lorenzo (nn Enzo). My question is this: If we choose "L" names for our first two, will we be locked into "L" names for any subsequent children we may have? I feel like there will be pressure!

Thanks for any input!

BTW, my niece born in July, didn't have a name for several days because parents were undecided. They had chosen "Alaska" before the birth but everyone hated it. They ended up going with Magnolia, nn Nola. I kept my name opinions to myself, but was secretly happy they decided against Alaska. Just not a fan of places-for-names.

By RobynT (not verified)
September 28, 2008 10:58 PM

The Letter K: You were trying to remember some history about calling young children by ugly names like Maggot in order to confuse evil spirits. I seem to remember this referenced in The Joy Luck Club (the book) or maybe Maxine Hong Kingston's Woman Warrior. No idea if it's true or not.

Guest: I think it depends if it would bother you to have a Lucia, Lorenzo, and Sebastian. Or whatever. When I was little we teased a kid about her parents leaving her out--her siblings were Heather and Harrison... can't remember what her name was, but that was just a dumb kid thing. I think it's only us NEs that would even notice. Love your taste btw! And yeah, Alaska reminds me of the pun, "I'll ask her."

By Zoerhenne (not verified)
September 28, 2008 11:06 PM

Guest-Ha ha on the Alaska thing, nms but it sure does give options for a theme if they have more kiddos-Boznia anyone?

Also, I don't think having 2 L names and others not is a big deal if they are names you like. I think trying to keep a theme going and picking names you DON"T like is worse! Lorenzo and Lucia don't sound that matchy to me except for the initial. Lorenzo and Lorena/Lauren/etc would be TOO matchy! Or Lucia and Lucian-don't do that either!

Jessica-That sounds better. I knew I had missed something.

By Yet Another Guest (not verified)
September 29, 2008 12:53 AM

Too many comments to catch up on, but I will address Guest...

Our two boys both have names that begin with A. It wasn't conscious "we're going to be the A family!", it just happened that we loved both of those names. (We had shortlists for both genders for both boys and waited until the next day to name them.)

We're considering having another child, but we are quite certain that we won't name the child an A name. Maybe we're crazy, but I think it would seem less weird to have two children with the same initial in a family with three of four children than having a family with three or four kids with the same initial.

Also, so little time of our lives are we seen in the context of our birth-family. I have many friends whose siblings' names I need to be reminded of. It seems to only be an 'issue' when they are in school together, living at home. Such a short time!

By Anne (not verified)
September 29, 2008 1:26 AM

I think it's interesting to read the varying state laws on baby name changes. Some states don't charge anything for a name change before the baby is one year old, other than a fee for the new certificate. Some require going to court! And everything in between...

By Eustace (not verified)
September 29, 2008 2:42 AM

Sigh. I don't much like my daughter's name, and it's growing in popularity, which I also don't like: it's Lena. We chose it because it was a family name on both sides, and my husband really likes it (he also knew the Lena in his family; I didn't know mine).
So I never much questioned it. It fit my basic requirements. But after she was born I realized I had never even asked myself if I liked it, and I find it too short and too liquid, and not transparent Hebrew/English, which is important to us.

I would like to change her name. But my husband really likes it. Someone please reassure me?

By Susan (not verified)
September 29, 2008 5:41 AM

I'm glad the topic of namer's remorse was raised- I always felt like I was the only one who had doubts after the fact. When I gave birth to my son, I had expected a girl (just a feeling, I hadn't found out the sex ahead of time) and so had very few boy's names picked out. We called him Julian, a name which I am still liking, but then everyone in the hospital hassled us for a middle name. My husband had to bring the baby-names books to hospital for us to feverishly flick through and choose from (no internet in those days!). We ended up going for Thomas, a safe choice and it felt 'heavy' enough to weigh down the potential lightness of Julian sufficiently, but I have always felt a little regret that such a big decision was made in such a rush...

Re the new baby Lacklyn- I'm not getting how that could be a cre8tive spelling of Lachlan... How on earth do you Americans pronounce Lachlan, anyway? I'm making the assumption that Latch, Lacklyn and Riot are American?

By christinepearl (not verified)
September 29, 2008 7:28 AM

Interesting topic!

My in-laws changed my husband's name when he was about 6 months old. They had originally called him Erin, liking the "Irishness" of it, but came to realize that it was universally considered a girl's name. (I find this an interesting choice considering that my MIL was born in Argentina and my FIL's ancestors date back to colonial times.) Anyway, they changed his name to Aaron, presumably because it sounded similar.

My FIL had a more radical name change. He was originally Lyle ln Jr. but when his mother remarried when Lyle was 12, they changed his name to Raymond ln the Third.

I myself have some remorse that I didn't stick to my guns with our first - his name is Elijah but I had wanted just Eli. And it doesn't seem to stick as a nn because the emphasis is different.

I have 3 boys and 2 girls. Each time I had a boy, the name would have been Miriam but somehow when my girl's came along, we named them Corinne and Lucy (no remorse). I wonder if I would have had remorse had Elijah, Dominic or Theodore been a girl and named Miriam?

By Guest (not verified)
September 29, 2008 8:52 AM

In my family of five kids, there are three that start with "m". No pattern or deliberateness; kids number 2,3, and 5 (two girls and a boy) have that initial. The only funny thing is that my sister and I each married a "b". My brothers each married an "a", but since the brothers don't have the same starting initial, it's not as funny. No one ever thought it was strange for three of the five to share that initial.

By Amy3 (not verified)
September 29, 2008 8:55 AM

CHW -- Elliott Andrew is a great name! Banish your remorse! If my daughter had been a boy she would have been Elliot.

Guest (Lulu's mom) -- I don't think having 2 children with names that begin with L locks you into Ls for all the rest of your kids. And I love Enzo as the nn for Lorenzo. Very cool!

Eustace -- I think Lena is a beautiful name that travels well. Not sure how you're pronouncing it, but I actually like it either way (Lee-na or Ley-na).

Re: Riot Delilah, a former hs classmate of mine named his first daughter Surr3al Turqu0ise Spir4l H4wth0rn3. That isn't his ln so I assumed it was his partner's. Turns out they didn't want to "burden" her with a surname so they chose an unrelated name for her.

Hmmm, you didn't want to burden her with a sn, but then name her Surr3al??? I always thought it would be great if she grew up to be some corporate type and changed her name to Sarah. (She would be 15 now and I've actually never met her.)

My captcha today is Connaught Oden. Anyone? Anyone?

By Zoerhenne (not verified)
September 29, 2008 9:21 AM

Susan-as an American Lachlan and Laklyn come out sounding the same, like the word "lock" +"lyn". I guess there is a bit of a difference if I stretch but first glance pronunciation is the same. There was another name we had a similar discussion about a month or so back but I can't remember what it was now.

By Moonie (not verified)
September 29, 2008 9:40 AM

christinepearl: Your story reminds me of my mother. She didn't find out the gender for any of her children and so both my sister and I were supposed to be named Jesse James if we were boys. However, she had a Megan and an Alanna and when my brother did end up coming along he ended up being a Nathan.

By Kristi (not verified)
September 29, 2008 9:50 AM

Susan- I actually see Laklyn and it "looks" like Lack-lynn to me, but I was very unsure. I think because it looks similar to Lachlan, I also have a tendency to want to pronounce it the same, Lock-lynn. I have no idea what the parents intend. Either way, it seems like an odd girls name to me.

By Kristi (not verified)
September 29, 2008 10:05 AM

Forgot to mention, yes I am American. Latch, Laklyn, and Riot were all born in America, Texas to be more specific.

By Riot Delilah (not verified)
September 29, 2008 10:18 AM

I've been waiting for a pseudonym to suggest itself on the board and now it has! Whee!